Mr. Ray L. Waller
First President (1946 – 1956)
In 1946, Navarro Junior College opened its doors at the buildings of Air Activities of Texas, located south of Corsicana, with ten faculty members, one librarian, and three administrators to 238 registered students.
At their first meeting, the newly elected Board of Trustees of Navarro Junior College voted Ray L. Waller as Navarro Junior College’s first president based on his experience and credentials. A native of Louisiana, Waller graduated from high school in Winnsboro, Texas. He held a B.A. from Texas Tech University and M.A. at Southern Methodist University. Waller taught and coached at several schools in Texas, and he had for a time served as superintendent of schools at Rice, a small community north of Corsicana. At the time he was named president of Navarro Junior College, Waller was superintendent of schools in Dawson in western Navarro County. He had been among the most ardent supporters for the creation of a junior college in Corsicana. A monumental task lay before President Waller as he prepared to put everything in place by September, when classes were scheduled to begin.
It was soon apparent that the facilities were inadequate, and in 1948, the College Board of Trustees purchased a new 47 acre campus acres about three miles west of Corsicana. In 1949, the people of the county approved a college bond issue for $540,000, together with a tax rate of 48 cents for both bonds and maintenance. The buildings from the Air Activities were moved to the new campus and reconstructed around a magnificent Administration Building. Each year the college has grown, and in 1956, 10 years after beginning, enrollment was 526 students with 26 faculty members and three administrators.
On Feb. 11, 1956, the city was shocked to learn that Mr. Ray Waller had suddenly passed away with a heart attack. He was still in his prime years and it was greatly regretted that he could not continue to enjoy the reward of his labors. The Board elected Dr. Ben. W. Jones to succeed Mr. Waller.